BANGOR – University of Maine System Chancellor James H. Page announced Tuesday that he has selected Susan J. Hunter as the next President of the University of Maine (UMaine) in Orono. The Executive Committee of the University System’s Board of Trustees unanimously supported the selection and will officially vote at a committee meeting on June 25. Hunter will be UMaine’s first woman president and will serve a two-year appointment commencing July 7.
“Dr. Hunter’s depth and breadth of experience at our flagship campus is unsurpassed,” Chancellor Page stated. “She is, moreover, already extremely well-known throughout the state as a tireless advocate for public higher education. She is the clear choice to advance the University of Maine.”
Established in 1865, the University of Maine will mark its sesquicentennial celebration in 2015. The University of Maine was originally established as the Maine College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts under the provisions of the Morrill Act, which was approved by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. In 1897 the original name changed to the University of Maine.
“The Board of Visitors is extremely pleased that Susan has agreed to assume the presidency during this transition period,” said Anne Lucey, Chair of the University of Maine Board of Visitors. “She has excellent relationships with alumni, donors, faculty and University supporters. Given her many years of service, she is able to assume a leadership role and provide the continuity the campus needs at this juncture.”
Since September 1, 2013, Hunter has served on the Chancellor’s cabinet as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for all seven of Maine’s public universities. Other than her time at the System, Hunter spent all of her career at UMaine, most recently as Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost from 2008 to 2013.
“Susan is an outstanding leader and will bring continuity to the University of Maine’s Blue Sky Plan,” said Samuel Collins, Chair of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees. “She has established extensive and good relationships and developed a wealth of knowledge during her many years of service in a number of leadership roles at the University of Maine.”
Hunter began her career at UMaine as an adjunct professor in 1987, became a full-time faculty member in 1991, and has since served in various academic and administrative capacities including Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education; Assistant Director in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture; and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences where she was a faculty member and cell biologist whose research focused on structural and functional aspects of bone cell biology.
“There is no greater honor than being named to lead the institution where I have spent essentially my whole career,” Hunter said. “I am delighted to be returning to campus to work with very talented and dedicated faculty, staff and students. My efforts will focus on further development and implementation of the Blue Sky Plan, fund raising activities in preparation for a comprehensive campaign, and external engagement to further the goals of the University of Maine System and higher education.”
For six years Hunter served as a co-principal investigator of an award winning $3.0 million NSF GK-12 grant that placed graduate teaching fellows in K-12 schools as science demonstrators. She was also the principal investigator on a five-year $3.3 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant helping to fund UMaine’s Rising Tide Center, an initiative that aims to transform the university through enhanced opportunities for women faculty members in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social-behavioral sciences.
She received a B.S. degree in biology from James Madison University, a Ph.D. in physiology from Pennsylvania State University and did post-doctoral work at Case Western Reserve University and the Pennsylvania State University.
Hunter served on the Board of Directors of the Maine School for Science and Mathematics and currently serves on the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance Board of Directors, as well as the University of Maine System representative to the Governor’s STEM Council, the Board of Directors of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, member of the Stillwater Society, a member of the Pi class of Leadership Maine, and most recently, participated in a planning initiative for the Maine Arts Commission Steering Committee in preparation for a Cultural Strategic Plan for the State of Maine.
Hunter lives in Orono with her husband, David Lambert, a plant pathologist who also spent his career at UMaine as a faculty member in the School of Food and Agriculture. They have two adult children.